What if we built our communities around places?

Placemaking is a quiet movement that reimagines public spaces as the heart of every community, in every city. It’s a transformative approach that inspires people to create and improve their public places. Placemaking strengthens the connection between people and the places they share.



Experiments with co-housing:

“It’s like up-cycling the neighborhood — connecting existing resources to make them work,” García explains. “For example, all this workforce that’s unemployed, all these empty spaces that are without use, all these elderly people that need help, all these natural resources that are not being taken care of — making a project for all these things.”


How to design communities that make residents fitter and healthier

Via The Guardian
New research has suggested that the design of ‘everyday spaces’ is of the utmost importance in encouraging physical activity. This article looks at how a new affordable housing development in New York encourages healthy living for only 0.4% increase in total cost.


“Shared Space” – a Dutch approach to urban space usage

Originally pioneered by Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman, Shared Spaces remove traffic lights, signs, crosswalks, lane markers and even curbs so that pedestrians, motorists and cyclists are allowed to negotiate their way through streets by gesturing and reacting to one another.



Biourbanism, rethinking the science of space

“It’s time to think about the effect of our environment on human beings, and [seize] our responsibility as designers. The [contemporary] city has been built as a machine, for production. We built a society that in fact is not social, a society of individuals without connection, and the spaces where they live don’t allow them to make any real connections. If you [compare this with] the ancient towns, you will notice a difference. It’s typical in a small Italian town for the elders who went to the modern towns to want to come back. Because they can, for example, sit down and start talking to other people. If they need somebody, they can ask for help. Of course, we can’t go back to the past, we can’t build again what has been built by another society, another economy. But we can learn something. We want to build a contemporary architecture, a contemporary urbanism that uses contemporary materials, but that pays attention to these aspects as very relevant. (…) Recycling space, bringing it back to the quality of “place,” is not an expensive operation. [It’s] not about concrete, trucks, and big money. Beauty is a matter of relationships.”


Related link – RSA paper: Developing Socially Productive Places


The London ‘Anti-Cafe’ where everything is free but you pay 3 pence a minute just to be there

The London ‘Anti-Cafe’ where everything is free but you pay 3 pence a minute just to be there (on Business Insider)
Mitin likes to call the cafe “The Social Network in real Life.” He sees it as much more than a place to go get coffee; customers are allowed to organize events at the space, for example. It feels like people [in London] are much more tired of consumption and really happy not to be “clients” anymore.


Networks of shared functioning spaces should be our inspiration and our goal for the future

Networks of shared functioning spaces should be our inspiration and our goal for the future (by Tessy Britton on Changing London)
“Thriving neighbourhoods need shared community spaces. Shared gardens, canteens, kitchens, workshops, make spaces, and work spaces can become the focus around which communities become socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.”
Behind every successful innovative space are a group of social pioneers — often regular people with drive and imagination who help to develop the spaces as platforms for people to bring their ideas and time.”
“What’s so special about these projects is that they are starting to transform how we think about being a participating citizen.  Citizenship becomes something for everyone, everyday.  It shifts us from just being consumers – to makers and co-producers of society on a much wider scale than we have seen before – it even has the potential to re-shape democracy.”